Articles From the August 1995 Unification News


The Lymph System

So far I focused on the digestive, eliminative, and circulatory systems and the need to cleanse them from the accumulation of toxic materials that are a by-product of our polluted environment and even more so of our harmful eating habits. Most Americans have problems with these systems and are more readily able to accept the fact that cleansing these systems is necessary. On the other hand, how many of you know the function and value of your lymph system?

About the only time most Americans pay attention to the lymph system is when they have an infection and the lymph nodes in the neck start to swell or when they hear about breast cancer and the fact that many times lymph nodes are removed together with the cancerous breast. Last year, the nation's attention turned to the plight of Jackie Kennedy who died from Lymph cancer. Still, the public was left with no clear idea about how to protect themselves from problems with the lymph system. Therefore, when I emphasize that beside the digestive, eliminative and circulatory systems we also need to cleanse our lymphatic system, I have very good reasons for saying so.

What is the lymph system anyway and what does it do?

Some scientists call it a second circulatory system, or human garbage system, because lymph, the fluid that circulates through the system, comes from the blood and returns to the blood. In this way the lymphatic fluid not only nourishes vital organs but also removes harmful substances from throughout the whole body. We may think of our blood vessels as tightly built, but actually water, proteins, and other materials constantly seep out of tiny blood vessels called capillaries into the tissues surrounding it. There the fluid bathes and nourishes body tissues. If there was no way for this fluid to return to the blood, the tissues would become swollen. Most of the extra fluid seeps into capillaries that have low fluid pressure, the rest returns by way of the lymphatic system. Lymphatic vessels, like blood vessels, are found throughout the body.

Along those vessels, at many places are lymph nodes. These bean shaped bumps are from 1/25 to 1 inch long and are of great importance in fighting infectious diseases. Inside of them are large cells, called macrophages, that absorb harmful matter and dead tissue. In addition, the lymph nodes produce lymphocytes, white blood cells, that defend the body against infection. These lymphocytes in turn produce antibodies that either destroy abnormal or foreign matter or make it harmless.

Why do lymph nodes swell?

During an infection, the lymph nodes that drain an infected area swell and become painful. The swelling indicates that the lymphocytes and macrophages in the lymph nodes are fighting the infection and working to stop it from spreading. This system works well if our body is in good working condition but trouble begins when the lymph system becomes blocked, or when the flow of lymph slows down appreciably, a condition called Lymphostasis.

What happens when you flush your toilet even though the drain is backed up? Well, you know. In the body, when fluids build up and can't be carried away by the lymph system, pressure builds up, sometimes to a point where it has definitely been implicated in congestive heart failure. Lymph channels in the lungs become hard and stiffen, and so does the left ventricle on the heart, the part that pumps oxygenated blood to body tissues.

In fact, Gerald M. LeMole (Chief of Cardiovascular Surgery, Deborah Heart & Lung Center, N.J.) states: "We feel strongly that Lymphostasis is a critical factor in generating atherosclerosis (hardening). First, the cardiac lymphatics are responsible for carrying away cholesterol from intercellular spaces. If the lymphs are blocked, the cholesterol can't go anywhere. It stays in the artery walls too long, thus contributing to atherosclerosis."

Dr. LeMole continues to say that "this is consistent with the fact that in 90% of coronary atherosclerosis postmortem exams show scarring, inflammation and blockage of lymph."

What can you do about all this?

First of all let's be aware of one major difference between the circulatory and lymph system. The circulatory system has a pump to move the blood along-the heart; the lymph system does not! Lymph circulates through the system and therefore moves through the lymph nodes because of physical activity. Exercise, deep breathing, massage, even skin brushing are the means of keeping the lymph flowing as it should. At times we can observe the lymph system cleansing itself when we see our bowel movement being slimy or when we cough up phlegm during a cold, flu or allergy attack.

Maybe you are surprised by this bit of news, but at least you can see from a different angle why I am encouraging you to do all these things.

Furthermore, where does much of lymph pollution come from? From the blood. And the health of our blood stream in turn is affected by what happens in our digestive and eliminative systems. Lymph drainage however is never sufficient to carry off toxins that may be pouring into the lymphatic system via a stagnant bowel holding five or six meals before elimination takes place or from a bowel pocket holding a mass of putrid material which is being reabsorbed into the body. That is why practicing proper food combining in addition to regularly taking your ginseng tea and cleansing your intestinal tract is of such great importance for the well-being of your lymph system.

So give your lymph system all the help it needs and deal with sickness and disease before they even have a chance to develop!

Next month I will explain what proper food combining means and why indiscriminately mixing food groups causes many health problems.

Until then, God Bless you and be well.


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